0 – Dave Clawsons. I don’t like to cuss after a blowout win, especially in the Bible belt, but one of the biggest reasons for UT’s success this season is the absence of the, pardon my French, “Clawfense.” Last year, under Clawson’s tutelage, the UT offense had only 22 plays that covered more than 20 yards. Chunk plays, as they’re called, are vital for SEC teams for the simple fact that 14 to 15 play drives against SEC defenses aren’t a smart way to make a living. Through nine games this season, the Vols have 34 plays for 20 or more yards, including nine against Memphis. In fact, the Vols longest scoring drive in the game lasted only six plays. It has to be nice for Vol fans to get back to the days of explosive offense after what they were forced to bear under Clawson’s offense last season.
13 – Crompton’s rank on UT’s career passing list. He passed Condredge Holloway, who threw for 3,102 career yards during his career, for 13th all time on UT’s career passing list. After last season and a bit of an ominous start to his 2009 campaign, not much was expected out of Crompton. Presently, he has gone from the outhouse to the penthouse in the heart of Vols fans everywhere and did nothing to hurt his newfound perception on Saturday. He had a career best 331 yards through the air and five touchdowns. He also rushed for a score and didn’t throw an interception. He now has 21 TD passes on the season good for tops in the SEC. Arkansas’ Ryan Mallet is second with 18 touchdown passes. As laughable as it once seemed, Crompton is in line to be the All-SEC second team QB, and if it weren’t for Tim Tebow, probably first team.
42 – First half points. This is the most since 2000 when they scored 49 against Louisiana-Monroe enroute to a 70-0 victory. Some speculated there would be a letdown after the black jersey beat-down of South Carolina, but the Vols were crisp and swift with their offensive onslaught against the Tigers
8 – More yards for Eric Berry to break the NCAA record for career interception return yardage. Berry finally got his first pick on the year that would allow for a return, but he couldn’t break lose. He returned it for just 7 yards, leaving him 8 yards short of former Florida State standout Terrell Buckley’s 515 careers return yards. However, after a noticeable absence from the stat sheet the last two ballgames, Berry was a force against Memphis. In addition to the interception, he had five tackles and a fumble recovery where he nearly defied gravity to return it for a touchdown. Unfortunately his elbow hit the ground, ruling him down. The Vols are at their best when Berry is making plays, and Berry was at his best on Saturday.
21 – Second half points, 28 for the game, allowed by the UT defense. It wasn’t all champagne and caviar for the Vols on Saturday, though. The UT defense had its worst outing of the season. I say “UT defense” in the most liberal sense possible, since it was mainly back-ups who allowed a 21-point outburst by Memphis in the second half. Worse yet, it simply confirmed what was commonly known – they have zero depth. The Vols starters were their typical dominant selves, but when Kiffin pulled the starters early in the third quarter Memphis ran all over UT’s defense. To further drive that point home, in eight possessions against the first team defense Memphis had four punts, two fumbles, and an interception to go along with one touchdown. Against the Vols’ back-ups they scored touchdowns on three of the first four drives. It was an effort Kiffin dubbed “pathetic,” and it has to make Vols fans weary at the prospect of any more starters going down with an injury.
137 – Rushing yards in the game for Tennessee. They came in averaging 173 per game on the year. Memphis had been giving up just shy of 200 yards rushing per game and the Vols felt like they could run, but wanted to have the passing game hitting its stride for the stretch SEC. Montario Hardesty carried the ball just 13 times for 60 yards and should be as fresh as is possible in the SEC for the last three games.
2 – Consecutive victories for Tennessee, the first winning streak of the Lane Kiffin era. Not only that, but with this win they are just one win shy of becoming bowl eligible, something they were unable to do a year ago. If they can go 4-0 in November, which they should with remaining games against Ole Miss, Kentucky and Vanderbilt, the Vols will find themselves in line for the Capital One, Cotton or Outback Bowl at season’s end. All three are New Year’s Day bowl games and a far cry from where Tennessee spent last bowl season.
Monday Morning Scoreboard
Published: Mon Nov 09, 2009